Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Seed Order 2011

It can be a long walk to the mailbox when it is a cool zero degrees outside. But the walk back indoors is always warmer when there is a seed catalog to browse.

The other day the Pinetree Garden Seed catalog arrived. The cover is a delightful mix of reds and greens like a good greens salad. But my go-to catalogue is Fedco with its standard black and white print, witty drawings and thoughtful wise words from C.R. Lawn:

"Even if we wished, we can't go back to an economy based on unsustainable levels of credit. We lack the means and we lack the confidence. On our farms, trickle-down may be a good way to irrigate, but in our economy it is only a good way to irritate. No wonder our political discourse leads us to one sullen ill-mannered impasse after another!"

Wish I wrote that, pretty much says it all these days...but I digress.

I love my Fedco seed catalog. It is a thick rich tome full of really good growing information. I consider it as indispensable a reference as the Encyclopedia of Country living. It is easy to get lost in the catalog during a cold winter day. Goes really well with a cup of mint tea:)

So as we ponder our first full growing year in our new home we have some serious foundation work to lay down in the garden. Last fall I was able to bring many perennials from our last home and transplant them here. But it helps to have some long term goals for our garden and landscape.

Some of these goals include:

  • I would like to build some food guilds around the base of a couple of our apple trees this year. This will include planting bulbs around the furthest perimeter around the trees, a mix of food perennials like egyptian onions, rhubarb and some cover crops. There is some great information on building one of these guilds in the book, Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway.
  • I would like to extend my herb garden to include a few more medicinal herbs.
  • I would like to add a few more colorful flowers to help our local pollinators.
  • We would like to take a further step in our own self-sufficiency by providing some of our own winter fodder for our live stock.
  • I would like to add a few more highbush blueberry bushes. We have some that are almost 4 years old but a few more will help us be self-sufficient for blueberries.
  • We transplanted hops from our old home but I would like to get a few more so we have a good hops yard started here.
Another really big goal this year is start many of these plants by seed. We have some really great south facing windows. My goal this year is to start many of the herbs, flowers and other crops by seed. In the past I have made vary valiant efforts to achieve this only to have my efforts and tender care undermined by tomato plant eating cats and a peat pot pillaging dog. We have a couple of shop lights and I am hoping to arrange some sort of arrangement that will not be hindered by any domesticated critters.

As for the ambitious seed list, here are a few of the plants I hope to grow this year...

  • Herbs: elacampane,feverfew, lovage,borage,motherwort, lavender,chamomille, toothache plant.
  • Flowers: Butterfly bush, bee balm, nasturtiums, lots and lots of Sunflowers, hollyhock.
  • Fodder: mangle-wurzel beets, field pumpkins, lots and lots of sunflowers.
  • People fodder: Highbush blueberries, Sea Kale a perennial green and all of our other favorite varieties of veg...kennebec and carola spuds, scarlet nantes carrots, contesca romanesco zukes, boston picking cukes, amish paste tomatoes plus a few other heritage tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and so much more...yipee!
My final goal for this year is to save as much seed as possible. As a way of keeping track of this endeavor I will add a saved seed widget at my side bar to document what I have saved; much like what I have done with the food I preserve.

Let's here it for the promise of a new growing season!


Wendy said...

I just got my first seed order yesterday, and I'm hoping for another today! I, too, am hoping to grow more medicinal herbs and attract more pollinators. I'm also really focusing on planting what is best suited for our area to fend off disappointment and have a better harvest.

Seed saving is in the back of my head, but won't get to it this year, but I hope you blog about some of your experiences with that!

Fleecenik Farm said...

Wendy, I hope to have a blog post about it next week. I plan to go to a seed saving workshop held by Will Bonsall of the ScatterSeed Project. It is an advanced class so it should be very comprehensive with regards to cross pollination and choosing varieties.

Jennifer said...

That is an interesting herb collection - care to write about them, or have you already? (I'm fairly new here.)

As for seed saving, I have goals to save beans, peas, lettuce, squash and pumpkins this year. One must start somewhere!

Fleecenik Farm said...

Hi Jennifer, I have not posted about these herbs but I will have a post soon to explain my choice. Thanks for the idea..I am always looking for ideas for content.:)